Teacher Introductions - Anand Garg
We are going to introduce our lovely teachers in a bit more detail with this series of interviews. We hope you like them!
Tell us your story
I’m an ex-banker and said goodbye to my desk after having worked in the industry for eleven years and started my journey back to my inner Self through yoga, meditation and other spiritual practices. I trained and graduated as Shiromani of Yoga (Yoga Teacher) at Sivananda Ashram in Kerala in April 2012 and have been teaching, learning, exploring and travelling the world ever since. In March 2016 I was certified with Master of Yoga from Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, India. I have been deeply involved in learning and understanding the yogic philosophies and life for the past couple of years. I have attended several Vipassana retreats, Buddhist silent retreats in Mahayana and Theravada tradition. Additionally, I have experienced living in monasteries and communities, organic farming and living with different people from all walks of life.
I am an ardent follower of a fundamental religion of life called “The Law of Nature“. This concept looks at basic understanding of life and advocates compassion towards others. I fell in love with the life I got to know after my corporate career and thought of establishing an eco-friendly village for yoga and holistic treatments to spread the love and joy of life.
When did you first get into yoga?
My first yoga class was long ago, if I remember well, it was in 1998 in Pune, India, where I was studying at university and it has since been a big part of my life.
What is your greatest weakness?
Practice yoga on my own. That's the reason I believe a retreat or community setting helps a lot to continue practicing or getting you back into the habit of practicing.
What are you doing to improve it?
I surround myself with like-minded people and work on my mind so it doesn’t play tricks with me :)! With time and the support of the yoga community I try to form the habit of a daily practice.
What types of Yoga do you have the most experience instructing?
I teach Sivananda Hatha yoga, but I enjoy practicing all forms of yoga.
What do you like most about yoga?
For me yoga is union of mind, body and soul and it’s a tool to connect these three.
What did you want to be growing up?
That's a good question.. When I was a kid I dreamed of being many different things, from professional cricket player to pilot to doctor. And as I grew up I wanted to get involved in the world of arts which always fascinated me and since my creative side seemed to be hiding from me I thought being a curator might be for me. But eventually I landed in the financial world.. Karma :)
Three words that describe yourself
Open, analytical, rational and emotional. I believe that whatever happens in life is for a reason, a good one. I know, that’s more than three :)!
What do you value most in people around you?
An open mind, the ability to stand up for who they are and the fact that they work on both of these constantly.
What's your favourite meal?
Haha, that's the question I ask myself a lot too! I guess I love all vegetarian food from around the world, but from time to time I crave Indian food, especially when I’m not in India :).. (and if I have to name a specific dish, it would be Palak Paneer and Chana Masala, my favourite curries!).
What was your biggest challenge when you first started practicing yoga?
It’s always been to have the discipline to do my self-practice.
What else do you enjoy doing in life?
I love travelling, exploring people, places, different cuisines, landscapes, cultures. I also enjoy seeing people living the life they love as I believe life is for living and not for paying bills. For living on the same frequency with the law of nature, enjoying and using it consciously. It’s the biggest gift of life, the abundance we are provided with. I also enjoy living a balanced life, like yin and yang. A glass of wine after a yoga class. Understanding both sides well and that it is ok to indulge in both. Everyone is different and can find their own balance by experiencing and trying out.
What's your advice for someone that's just starting to do yoga?
Just keep doing it for 21 days before you give up and never look at it again. It takes 21 days to form a habit or change a pattern, not very long, and you will soon understand the benefits of this amazing gift we were given as human beings. Plus, remember that this practice is more than just stretching and not a competition with yourself or others.
How do you take your yoga off the mat? Yoga is not just exercising, it’s a way of life, it’s awareness, it’s consciousness, it’s the law of nature, it’s dhamma - all of which is always there with you 24/7.
What's your all time favourite yoga asana? Why?
I don't have a favourite, but if I have to name one I would say savanasa. I believe generally in life the opening and closing are more important than what we do in between and the same applies to yoga. You will only receive the proper benefits of your practice when you relax properly at the end. In a 1.5 hour yoga session, savasana should be at least 10 minutes.
What's your mantra?
Live the life you love and love the life you live!
What posture is the most challenging for you? Why?
Mayurasana or peacock - I need to practice it more!
Fill in: I teach yoga because...
It gives me joy to guide people into the world of happiness, finding peace with the Self and getting closer to experience the law of nature. It’s the start for many people to understand that life is much more than just paying bills and directing them towards living the life the they love in their own way.